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Sympathy? You must be joking

Filed: Wednesday, 30th May 2012
By: Paul Walker

I must admit, I never thought there would come the day when I felt sorry for Sheffield United or Tottenham.

And I was right! That day has not arrived, although for just one or two seconds I did feel a touch of sympathy for two clubs we have had more problems with off the pitch than on it over recent years.

I am not the sort of fan who spends any time abusing rival supporters, I’d rather spend all my energies concentrating on my own players, and I do hate the chants and songs which are just aimed at goading opponents.

The “ your support is f……s…”, or the one that tells rivals how much we hate being in their town. And then there is the anti-Semitic stuff - racism in effect - that gets aimed at Spurs fans. Surely we can be above all this.

But there’s still a section of our support who sing the ‘running round Tottenham’ rubbish and believe it is acceptable. I sat on the tube to Wembley with a lovely family from Blackpool, with three wide-eyed kids on their first trip to London, feeling utterly embarrassed as our fans belted out the anti-Spurs stuff.

For heavens sake, sing about us, not our rivals. Enough said, you know who you are!

However, the ill-fortune that has fallen on Sheffield United and Spurs at the end of the season did make me feel that "what goes around comes around" is an apt view.

Actually, I don’t have issue with rank and file fans at either club. They are just like us, they love their club, they believe the party line stuff that gets pushed out on club websites and they want what we want. Success on the pitch.

I have a couple of Spurs fans as mates, they are quite human really, and one even texted me on the way to Wembley wishing us luck in the play-off Final.

And I managed to reply a few hours later after the dust had settled on Wembley and Munich, that it is very wrong that the sixth-placed Premier League club, Chelsea, should be in the Champions League ahead of fourth placed Spurs.

And I felt sorry for Steve Simonsen, the Sheffield United ‘keeper who missed the decisive play-off penalty shoot-out spot kick that saw Huddersfield promoted and not the Blades. I've met the lad a few times, and you couldn’t wish for a nicer young man.

But that is where the sympathy ends. I have real issues with the hierarchy and senior management of both clubs, who have done their utmost to damage us as a club and business.

Sheffield United first. We are still paying them £5million a year (how much longer?) following the Tevez arbitration of 2008, and I am tempted to ask just what we have got for our money, so badly have the Blades fared since!

|I would have liked the TV cameras to have dwelt just a little longer on the face of their chairman Kevin McCabe after that shoot-out disaster at Wembley that condemned the Yorkshire club to another season in the third tier of English football.

They are £32million in debt despite the £20million they have already had from us, have spent £15million in the last two seasons and are now facing severe cuts, including sacking Simonsen this week.

McCabe and his mates - including various past sports ministers, senior MPs and third rate actors - manipulated the Tevez situation and wanted to put us out of business. The Premier League voted that we had been punished enough with the £5.5million fine, the High Court would not back the Blades and only the FA’s independent arbitration hearing under that geriatric Lord Griffiths agreed with McCabe's lot.

We were severely punished for what most in football thought was a technical offence, the Premier League were more bothered about us deceiving them rather than the debatable detail of a contract that never actually came into operation.

We deserved to be punished. But not almost put out of business by McCabe and his chancers. In the end we were the victims of an FA who was at war with the Premier League and wanted to make a stand against the all-powerful top flight.

So I have had no sympathy with Sheffield United’s plight, and hope they enjoy their trips to Crawley, Shrewsbury and Swindon next season.

Now Spurs. The north London club reckon they will lose £40million by being excluded from the Champions League. They could also lose top players not overjoyed with the prospect of playing in the Europa League.

Van der Vaart, Modric,Bale and even our beloved ‘arry could go. Redknapp was even linked with Chelsea last week.

I won’t be crying over any misfortune that is suffered at White Hart Lane. Their management have gone to extraordinary lengths to ruin our business plan and the possible move to the Olympic Stadium, pushing legality to the limits.

They have employed people who have sunk to the depths of the dark arts of surveillance, stealing phone records and running personal checks on everyone of the committee that was considering the Olympic Stadium legacy.

Spurs did not want Stratford, they were just desperate to sabotage any attempts by us to progress and grow and find a ground that could accommodate our 50,000 plus fans who went to Wembley.

Whether you like the idea of moving to the Olympic Stadium or not isn’t the point, but Spurs were trying to damage us as a club, which was inexcusable. So any misfortune that falls their way should be a deluge in my view.

I had a bet with one of my Spurs mates before last season that they would never play in the Champions League again. Could be I will be right. As for the Blades, they might just have cut their own throats.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Brian Rafis
05:28PM 8th Jun 2012
''Nice piece, the Chelsea thing is debatable but maybe five teams would have been better as when Liverpool won it.

For you Billy, Blackpool officially sold 29,000 and the gate was 78k. A few West Ham fans had to buy Blackpool tickets so I'll let you do the maths...''

by David Carr
05:06PM 3rd Jun 2012
''These views may not be representative of KUMB but they sure as hell mirror the feelings of this KUMB afficionado. May both clubs continue to suffer the from their well earned bad karma.''

by 50pence
06:35PM 31st May 2012
''It was ALMOST the perfect season..The Spuds failing to get into the CL, Sheffield Utd failing to get promoted and West Ham back up at the first time of asking! The only 'downside was that Millwall didn't get relegated. :-(

THAT would have been the PERFECT SEASON! COYI.''

by Billy
01:28PM 31st May 2012
''How the hell did you get 50,000 fans at Wembley? The ground holds 90,000.''

by Vmixture
11:50AM 31st May 2012
''A good piece but I have to disagree about it being wrong that Chelsea are in the Champions League and Tottenham aren't. Chelsea are champions of Europe, Tottenham finished fourth in their domestic league. Im afraid Chelsea deserve to be in the CL more than ANY other team next season.''

by jak1935
11:36AM 31st May 2012
''Another very interesting piece by Paul Walker with which I heartily agree. The Sheffield judgement was a complete farce, which has cost us dearly (and we're still paying). I won't go into the whys and wherefores, that has been well documented.

As for Spurs, just how does Spurs who live in North London think our move to OS will affect them? Sour grapes is the only reason. Justice to WHU has not been done yet in either case. So you shall reap as you shall sow, and eventually you'll get your comeuppance. As this is panning out in the long run.''

by Juice
10:58AM 31st May 2012
''Totally agree with your comments , I personally think Spurs will start a downward spiral. They will lose Bale, Modric etc... looking forward to meeting them somewhere in mid-table!''

by Robert
10:26AM 31st May 2012
''The constant abuse of Sheffield Untied fans and wish for the club to do badly annoys me about some of these sites. We are a club with good support even in League One and there are mindless people who still abuse us even though I and the majority of Blades have never had anything against West Ham.

It disappoints me when people revel in our demise when it is not the fans who have done anything against West Ham. I'd be more happy to dislike Portsmouth who everyone seems to protect when they struggle financially but bought the FA Cup. I'd take near bankrupcy for a Cup Final. Anyway, point was your article is one of the most clearly written and non-inflamatory articles from a West Ham site about SUFC and fair points.''

by dazza
08:48AM 31st May 2012
''Karma, I think they call it Paul.''

by Mick Whalley
05:04AM 31st May 2012
''Brilliant bit of writing, Probably the most factual I have read, The top level management at both Tottenham and Sheffield Utd should hang thier heads in shame.
Thanks mate.''

by Jay
09:22PM 30th May 2012
''I don't understand why you are even thinking about other clubs, You have just won promotion and yet you are creating a article about two clubs who you don't support. Did these two clubs ask for your sympathy? No. I don't quite understand why you have made this article.''

by G carder
08:20PM 30th May 2012
''Great article, West ham have had a torrid time in recent years. The saying 'what goes around comes around' comes to mind.''

by Ian walker
06:30PM 30th May 2012
''Hear Hear, I am a 47 year old rational reasonably intelligent man who enjoys the company and debate of rival fans of all teams, and yet I revelled in the misery of Sheffield Utd at the weekend and can't think of anything bad enough that could happen to Spurs that would satisfy my lust for blood as far as they are concerned. But Levi and Redknapp in jail, Modric, Bale and Van Der Vaart joining Arsenal and spurs relegated would be a start. If Carlsberg did football seasons...''

by Darkman
05:58PM 30th May 2012
''I couldn't agree with you more on both fronts - and as for the weasal Barry Hearn ground sharing? Jog on, pal...''

by bristol hammer
05:44PM 30th May 2012
''Couldn't agree more. Sheffield United went down because they could not beat Wigan at home on the last day of the season. Wigan, not real Madrid. That idiot Warnock tried to bury us with threats to sue en-masse with his players etc. I wonder how many games Sean Bean will attend this seaso?. He might fit in Mansfield away; they are where they belong.

Now Tottenham and Levy in particular; what a vindictive SOB he is the smarmy sod. Tried to claim that most Tottenham fans dont live in N. 17 but in fact in Ilford and the surrounding areas. Talk about playing into the stereotype that Ilford is full of Jewish people. He knew from day one that the Spuds could no more play in E.15 than we could play in Highbury. Maybe 'Arry (who can't read or write and struggles to send a text) told him he had looked at a map and it was close to White Hart Lane?

Spurs in Europe? Not when Bale, Modric and Van Der Vaart leave. Love it.''

by Slimball Levy
05:07PM 30th May 2012
''Love it and hope it appears on Spurs and Blades search boards. Both teams deserve what they get.

Blades are bad losers and Spurs are just gross (mainly the media and money whore manager as well as the up-his-own-arse chairman).

I already had Spurs fans mates saying Spurs will get 6 points next season, well last time in the Prem we got four off them with a much worse team, a useless manager and against a stronger Spurs team (that's before their inevitable losses of Modric and Van Der Fart, and a soon to be sulking Gareth Bale).

Bring it on Spurs, Blades don't even register anymore. COYI.''

by ParkLane
04:32PM 30th May 2012
''Are you serious that Spurs only wanted the Olympic site to damage West Ham? You're crazy. Why would Levy give a damn about West Ham? He wanted a cheap site that was well connected, and would attract big sponsorship etc. The investigations into the OPLC uncovered very shady dealings with it's members and West Ham, which Levy suspected. I'm so glad we wanted to knock it down, and Coe et al created a media storm to stop us getting the site because we would have. As for Sheffield Utd, no amount if money will make up for the Premier League not docking points from West Ham that year.''

by ParkLane67
04:10PM 30th May 2012
''You say you'd rather spend all my energies concentrating on my own players, but end up going into a bitter rant about how the Spurs and Sheff Utd board were out to get you. You and the rest of your fans need to practice what you were preaching at the start of the article. Get over it and try and enjoy your time back in the Premier League. As for Spurs, they're not looking for your nor anyone else's sympathy!''

02:43PM 30th May 2012
''How refreshing to find a fellow fan that seems to have the same opinions as me! I get tired of the fact that most of our songs are about hatred for Chelsea and Spurs. Why not have a bit of creativity and start some positive ones for our own players? Or for once give a bit of backing to our own manager who's just got us promoted at the first time of asking.

It is a constant frustration that it's the minority of negative bigots who colour the opinion of this great club that we all love.

Good article - also agree about Spurs and Sheffield United. It's their leadership I have the biggest problem with and my Spurs supporting mate wished me good luck too. I couldn't do the same for him as there is too much ill-feeling regarding OS, hijacking of most transfers we've tried to do etc etc.''

by Arry's Twitch
02:37PM 30th May 2012
''All Together Now...



by cheyfitz
02:30PM 30th May 2012
''A very good article, there is a thin line between banter and hatred so people should be aware and pipe up when it is crossing the line.

As for the situation with Sheffield Utd and our north London neighbours, the situations do appear to be just but we can not afford to crow too much. Our recent history is hardly something to be proud of?

I just hope we can consolidate our situation, maintain our Prem status and move forward building on the currently shaky but improving ground we find ourselves on.''

by Danny Lawless
02:25PM 30th May 2012
''I was over the moon that Sheffield Utd stayed in division 3. They're nearly ruined. As for "abusive" chants, banter is a part of football. Granted, it can go too far but it's the fun of it. When I go, I'm in the Trevor Brooking stand and there is a lot of back and forth with the away lot but more often it's West Ham chants. And as for the "your support is f***ing s**t" it don't mean we hate in being in their town we sing at at home as well. We sing it at fans you aint singing for their team who aint good supporters. West Ham fans, singing winning or losing.''

by Goose
02:11PM 30th May 2012
''Re. chanting to wind up opposition fans... The racist/anti-semitic stuff that you sometimes hear is absolutely disgusting and has no place in the modern game. We're nowhere near as bad as most countries regarding this kind of thing, but it should not exist at all. Anywhere.

However, I totally disagree with you regarding the more harmless stuff ie. 'your support is f***ing s**t' and so on. I can remember my first game at Upton Park as a kid, complete with all kinds of bad language and abuse towards certain players, supporters and of course, the referee. I'm sure my dad would have rather I didn't hear that kind of thing at the time (I think I was probably about six or seven at the time) but it was exactly the kind of thing that thrilled me at that age and made me excited to keep coming back. (Also, we won the game 5-0 vs Sunderland - 1989 - just looked it up. So I would have been six).

The feeling of camaraderie and uniting against a common foe is part of what makes football such a compelling game to watch and what makes fans so passionate about their team.''

by steve
02:11PM 30th May 2012
''I couldn't help but smile when Sheffield Utd lost at Wembley, what goes around... etc. same as when that cretin Warnock got sacked, deserves everything he got.''

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